ii THE CHURCH OF S. JOHN OF THE STUDION 51
Gonzalez de Clavijo visited in Constantinople when on his way to the Court of Tamerlane. But that church was £a round church without corners,' c una quadra redonda sin esquinas,' and had forty-eight columns of verd antique, cveinte 6 quatro marmoles de jaspe verde, ... 6 otros veinte £ quatro marmoles de jaspe verde.9 What church the Spanish ambassador had in view, if his description is correct, it is impossible to say. No other writer describes such a church in Constantinople. See the Note at the end of this chapter for the full text of the ambassador's description.
The northern wall of the atrium is original, as the crosses in brick formed In its brickwork show. The trees which shade the court, the Turkish tombstones beneath them, and the fountain in the centre, combine to form a very beautiful approach to the church, and reproduce the general features and atmosphere of its earlier days.
The narthex is divided Into three bays, separated by heavy arches. It is covered by a modern wooden roof, but shows no signs of ever having been vaulted. The centre bay contains in its external wall a beautiful colonnade of four marble columns, disposed, to use a classical term, c in antis.' They stand on •comparatively poor bases, but their Corinthian capitals are exceptionally fine, showing the richest Byzantine form of that type of capital. The little birds under the angles of the abaci should not be overlooked.
The entablature above the columns, with Its architrave, frieze, and cornice, follows the classic form very closely^ and Is enriched in every member. Particularly Interesting are the birds, the crosses, and other figures in the spaces between the modillions and the heavy scroll of the frieze. The drill has been very freely used throughout, and gives a pleasant sparkle to the work.
In the second and fourth Intercolumniations there are doorways with moulded jambs, lintels, and cornices, but only the upper parts of these doorways are now left open to serve as windows.
The cornice of the entablature returns westwards at Its northern and southern ends, indicating that a colonnade, with a smaller cornice, ran along the northern and southern sides of the atrium, if not also along its western side. The